Fronted by singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, July Talk hail from Toronto, Canada and play to untold volumes a sound that encapsulates the work of gutsy rock acts both past and present. With new work on the way and plenty of tour dates around the globe, Peter and Leah took the time to answer some questions on summer festivals, Jack White vs The Black Keys and playing in the UK.
CF: Where did the name ‘July Talk’ come from?
Peter: It was the name of the first song I ever wrote for two people. It was a reference to the conversation between Leah and I. The month of July seemed significant in relation to being a young person. You can meet someone, fall in love, party, have incredible sex, fall out of love and experience intense depression all within a summer and then September sets in and it all just fades away likes some regretted memory. But the love was real. I guess July Talk is meant to be the conversation from within that summer.
CF: Which festivals are you most looking forward to playing this summer?
Peter: Well, when you say you’re doing a summer festival run, you assume that all the shows will be quite similar. But because we’re an up and coming band, the festivals are pretty diverse, everything from Osheaga or Isle of Wight to smaller outdoor festivals in our favourite small Canadian towns. I think what excites me is to see how our show changes when we play to these huge crowds. You really want the audience in the front row to be getting just as great of a performance as the people a football field away. So we’ll be trying some cool new stuff to bring up the scale of our show to that level.
CF: Your bluesy sound at times recalls Jack White’s work and The Black Keys. Considering White’s recent comments about the Ohio band, how do you keep the genre fresh and original?
Peter: Obviously rock and roll comes from the blues. I love Jack White, not only for his music, but for his taste in cohesive visual design. The Black Keys are an exciting band. I think that every decade or so, a band needs to come around and remind everyone that rock and roll is alive and well and we don’t need to constantly swallow the over-produced, recycled live shows with layers and layers of backing tracks. A band like The Strokes or The White Stripes show up and says “remember how fun it is to see a real rock and roll band?” The most exciting sound in the world to me is a band playing loud as fuck. Bottom line. How do you be unique? Well, everyone is unique. If you focus on the things that make you unique rather than trying to mimic things that make other people unique, you’d probably have a good start.
CF: What do you think Mr White would have to say about July Talk?
Peter: No clue. I imagine he’s so tired of people shoving new music down his throat at the hopes of getting some sort of authenticity endorsement. So, I would assume he wouldn’t really care if we existed or not. I wonder whether one of the reasons he’s so drawn to old southern blues is to get away from all that shit. But what do I know? You have his number? Address? Well send him our record then and let me know what he thinks. Thanks.
CF: You’re playing a couple of dates in London and Leeds this month, have you visited here before? And if so, what were your experiences of playing to a UK crowd?
Leah: We feel very lucky to have played Dot To Dot festival in Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham this spring. It’s hard to play shows in places you haven’t established yourselves yet and the festival gave us a chance to play for awesome crowds in some very cool venues. We also spent a night playing in York as well as two shows in London. We see every one of our shows as an opportunity to get people to commit to the night, push the audiences’ boundaries and hopefully convert them and get them on our side. We’re a band you either love or leave because we play a lot with pre-conceived expectations. We can be “too much” for people. UK crowds have been a blast to play for so far but we look forward to our second and third (and 10th) dates with them because that’s when you get cosy with a city and the really unforgettable nights happen.
CF: Not an awful lot of Canadian bands have found fame in the UK, are there any hidden gems that you’ve seen or played with that we should know about?
Leah: I’m not sure who’s hidden and who’s well-known in the UK so I’ll just tell you who I love and you’ll have to forgive me if you already know them: Check out Lowell, the Darcys, Weaves, Light Fires, Diana and By Divine Right (who have been around for over 2 decades and have a great new record). Also if you ever get a chance to see Vag Halen live do NOT miss them.
CF: Finally, what’s in store for July Talk after the summer?
Leah: This fall we’ll be back on this side of the ocean again! We’re hoping to spend some more time in the States as well. We’ve been to a few cities but have yet to tour America extensively. Between festivals this summer we’ll be recording a few new songs for our LP which is set to be released early autumn as well. Other than that it’s pretty safe to say we’ll be touring as much as possible (because the July Talk project lives on stage) and writing and recording demos for the next album.